Online food-ordering platform slows queues during peak hours

15 Oct 2018

By Jeanne Mah

A lack of a designated waiting area for YQueue users has resulted in mobs of hungry customers outside participating stores in NTU such as Each a Cup.

Waiting times at self-service NTU food outlets have increased as staff struggle to keep up with additional orders from online food-ordering platform YQueue Campus.

YQueue is a mobile application that allows users to pre-order and pay for their food without being on location. Food outlets like Each A Cup and The Sandwich Guys hopped on board the initiative when it was launched on campus in June.

The number of users has grown six-fold from 22 to 1,450 since its launch.

The platform encourages users to place an order in advance at self-service food outlets to reduce the length of the physical queues. But some use the app to place an immediate order, forcing staff to juggle two simultaneous lines.

Some of these staff members told the Nanyang Chronicle that overwhelming orders from YQueue have made it difficult for them to efficiently serve customers who are in the physical line.

An employee at Each A Cup, who wanted to be known only as Isaac C, said they receive orders via the YQueue app every few seconds during peak hours.

“There are only five of us on duty and it is impossible to manage the orders from YQueue while preparing the drinks of those who are in the original queue,” said the 21-year-old.

A representative from The Sandwich Guys, who declined to be named, added that the number of customers had spiked in September when there was a 30 per cent discount to promote the app.

“The usual waiting time for a sandwich during peak hours would be 10 to 15 minutes. But during the promotional period, customers had to wait for 30 minutes,” said the 27-year-old.

When contacted, YQueue Singapore said the platform should not be blamed for longer waiting times as they are dependent on how well the stallholders manage the orders.

“Some merchants process YQueue orders simultaneously with orders from the original queue, while other merchants have staff just to process YQueue orders,” said chief executive officer Kevin Lee.

While there are students who are unhappy with the longer queues, some YQueue users said the app has made lunchtime more convenient.

Loo Wan Yi, a final-year student from the School of Biological Sciences, has used the platform to order food from The Sandwich Guys. Once she is notified that her sandwich is ready, she drops by in between classes to collect it.

“The preordering function is very useful as I do not have to queue at all,” said the 23-year-old.

“I never have to miss my lunch just because there are long lines.”